Before Coffee: Restorative

September 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

It’s windy this morning. Fall is blowing the last vestiges of summer through the cemetery gate. It will rain later; the clouds are already gathering outside. Inside, my personal clouds are clearing and I’m starting to feel like me again.

I slept a full night without aid—no Benadryl, no melatonin. “Sleep is for the weak” is something my friends and I say when we don’t get enough, but it really is vital to our health and mental well-being. Sleep makes us stronger, helps us keep our defenses up against the storm clouds and brain weasels.

My appetite is slowly coming back, too. Nourishment goes hand-in-hand with sleep. When I don’t sleep, my Crohn’s disease kicks up, and when that happens, I don’t eat much. I’ve lost 10 pounds in the last month or so. While I’d like to keep it off, I also need to fuel my defenses against illness.

So, sleeping and eating. And also creating. I wrote a poem Saturday night, sitting in a quiet attic library with black cat flirting with me. I’d slipped away from the party downstairs for a few minutes alone, and discovered a book of Charles Bukowski’s poems and short stories about cats. Buck is one of my favorite poets, and I thought I shared his poem “tough company” here before, but now I can’t find it. Reading his words made me want to jot down a little drabble of my own. It’s short and it’s terrible, but it’s a seedling pushing up through newly moistened soil. I am feeling the old itch to start writing again.

The party I temporarily escaped from was restorative. Aaron and Anneliese were the hosts, and their parties are always a mix of familiar faces and new ones. They know fascinating people. I met interesting new friends, talked to old friends, and heard the kind of bawdy stories only a former sailor can tell of the Banana Lady and the Bottoms Up Club and Korean sex shows. There was a fire out back and good food inside and joy everywhere.

I drank a little, but not too much. I ate too many of the fantastic egg rolls my friend Travis conjures up, as well as more than my share of my wife’s delicious monkey bread. I watched my friends’ faces in the firelight, and listened to their stories.

But I kept slipping upstairs to the cat and the book and the quiet, just for a few minutes each time, whenever I felt the jittery devil’s hand upon my spine. I read half that small book over the course of the night. Sometimes, I found a friend or two up there, escaping like me, and we had quiet chats.

Toward the end of the festivities, my friend Julieanne said she’d “eddied through the party,” which I thought was just a lovely turn of phrase that perfectly captured the feel of the night: the slow swirl of conversations and people, moving through the house or out into the back yard, seeking the fire or the shadows or the quiet places filled with books and cats.

There are worse ways to spend a night, but if you ask me, there are few better.


This is the cat who kept me company. His name is Tom Servo. (Photo credit: Anneliese Knoff)

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